The Mission: Expanding Road Access in Rural Rwanda
In 2020, a non-profit set out to solve a problem: the lack of road access in rural Rwanda. According to the World Bank, only about 55 percent of Rwandans live within two kilometers of an all-season road.  Widespread transportation scarcity hinders economic development, fractures social and professional networks, and restricts access to necessities such as specialized healthcare and other emergency services.
The greatest obstacle to road access in rural Rwanda is flooding. The World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal reports that floods occur regularly in Rwanda due to heavy rains.  Rwanda’s rural road network, which “consists predominantly of very poor condition dirt roads,” becomes impassable when impeded by such floods. To overcome this obstacle, the non-profit built a series of flood-resistant bridges.
Our Role: Counting Pedestrians to Measure Impact
With the bridges built, the non-profit wanted to measure their impact on the affected communities, particularly in terms of trade and economic prosperity. That’s when Synaptiq entered the picture.
We helped the non-profit precisely quantify its impact with a form of artificial intelligence, machine vision. Machine vision analyzes visual data (such as images, videos, etc.) to produce useful insights. We developed machine models to count the number of pedestrians who crossed the newly-built bridges. This information would allow the non-profit to determine where its bridges had the most impact, informing future projects. Put another way, we helped the non-profit recognize the objective impact of its past work and determine how to ensure that its future work would generate the greatest possible benefit for rural Rwandans.
Synaptiq is committed to human-first innovation. Artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology shouldn’t displace people; they should help us grow. Whether we’re expanding road access in rural Rwanda, fighting wildfires from orbit, or finding inspiration in the arts, we remain dedicated to the humankind of AI.
"Being a part of making the world a better place means everything to us especially for communities that lack the infrastructure to live safe and healthy lives”
Co-Founder and CEO, Stephen Sklarew
Synaptiq is an Oregon-based artificial intelligence and data science consulting firm. We engage our clients in a collaborative approach to developing human-centered products and custom solutions while maintaining a strong commitment to ethics and innovation.
Contact us if you have a problem to solve, a process to refine, or a question to ask. You can learn more about our story through our past projects, blog, or podcast.